Donaldsonville company works to regain public trust amid water warning

Donaldsonville company works to regain public trust amid water warning

DONALDSONVILLE, LA (WAFB) - For the second night in a row, people in Donaldsonville were told not to drink or cook with their tap water. It is a problem that management at Peoples Water Service said they are trying to fix, but residents are not satisfied.

"I mean, we're in an uproar. It's scary," Myra Caruso said.

Nearly 48 hours after the ban on drinking the water was issued, people lined the streets to pick up bottled waters.

Myra Caruso's mind was on what the safety concern will mean for her salon.

"I'm afraid for my customers because if something happens to the color of their hair, Peoples Water Service is not going to be responsible, Myra will," she said.

However, she said her biggest fear is what will happen before it is all over.

"Someone's going to get sick, someone will get sick," she added.

Ascension Parish has provided more than 10,000 bottles of water. At 20 cents a bottle, the cost of supplying the city with something to drink has ballooned to just over $2,000, but manager at Peoples Water said the company is doing everything possible to address the problem.

Facility manager Carroll Aucoin said it stemmed from an operator error.

"Operators have been retrained on those meters and the meter has been tested to find out if there is anything or any other problems that anyone else is having," he said.

The private company is working with the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) and hopes someday Peoples Water can regain the public's trust.

"This is something that's tarnished Peoples Water and we're doing every bit of testing we can to possibly in other words correct any issue that may have occurred," Aucoin added.

DHH said after further testing the chlorine dioxide levels remain below EPA standards but they will continue the ban on drinking water in Donaldsonville until further notice.

State Health Officer, Dr. Jimmy Guidry, released the following statement regarding the situation:

"Today, I still have more questions than answers. The water system has been unable to satisfactorily answer our questions as to why their self-generated test reports that had chlorine dioxide levels above the EPA standard were not reported to us. I am also concerned that the system cannot demonstrate any actions they took when they learned of these levels."

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